Connected Learning

Jarrod Lamshed

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Managing Professional Development

profdev_tree_480-1Professional development is important. It’s something that schools and leadership teams need to value and see as an investment in high quality learning. Having said this, when we decide to shell out substantial resources (money or closure days etc) we have an expectation that it will be money well spent.

I have been to a few professional development sessions recently that, although they have given me good things to take away, have left me feeling like something was missing. For me it was the ‘big picture’ stuff. They didn’t quite have the hook that challenged my thinking to the point where I felt a need to act on something. Speaking with other staff at my school, some agreed with me, but many loved these sessions. They felt that they had ‘hit the mark’ for them.

We know that one speaker or session isn’t going to suit everyone’s needs. Like our students, we all come with different experiences, different passions, different roles, a different number of years in the job… so how do we do this better? We aim for differentiation for our students. Should we doing more to provide this for teachers or is that unrealistic? With school and department priorities in the mix, can we really offer good differentiation for our teachers? I’d like to think so.

3 Responses to Managing Professional Development

  1. Paul Luke says:

    Nice one mate – my view is that most PD is loosely aligned with improving student learning – mostly resembling what educators feel is important for them at the time. Effective PD should be an ongoing and cyclic process (in situ) of educators reflecting upon and looking to sharpen / improve specific instructional teaching strategies leading to improved student learning.
    Hope some of your listeners can add to the dialogue too 🙂

  2. Josh Vick says:

    Thought provoking post about an issue our LeadershipTeam have been discussing in some depth recently. Certainly agree with Paul’s point re effective PD leading to instructional change… However, many speakers/sessions simply present “add-on” elements, as opposed to challenging fundamental practices and empowering teachers/leaders to action sustainable change. The real value of any new learning ultimately lies in the associated “unlearning” that also ensues, as the PD cycle is too often a short one that involves educators quickly reverting back to the perceived safety of their default positions!

    • This is where an authentic growth mindset is so important. Having not only an ability, but a drive to learn… unlearn… relearn… try… fail… try again.. improve. We have many in our profession that don’t do this naturally. Also, I think that we get to a point where we can feel overloaded with all of the ‘stuff’. It’s really hard to be open to new learning at times like this.

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